Deadline day for primary school applications: Five tips to get your top choice

A teacher gives a lesson to a pupil. Parents and carers are being encouraged to list five choices of schools when they apply.
A teacher gives a lesson to a pupil. Parents and carers are being encouraged to list five choices of schools when they apply.
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Parents and carers are being warned not to miss today’s deadline on applying for their child’s primary school places. An application must be made for every child starting school in September 2016.

They are being encouraged by councils to list five preferred schools because places cannot be guaranteed. Applicants will find out which school they have been allocated on April 16 and appeals will be held for admission to schools during June and July.

School places was a controversial issue in Yorkshire last year because of parents missing out on places at their preferred, local schools - despite applying on time. A Fair Access campaign was launched by parents in Roundhay, Moortown and Alwoodley areas of Leeds.

The group then set about campaigning for something to be done to address the problem in 2015, which was eventually achieved with bulge classes at Gledhow, Highfield and Wigton Moor Primary schools, meaning 90 new places.

The group continued to grow with worried parents from future years - and attention turned to making sure it never happened again.

Giving an update on developments, Mark Rowlinson, of the Fair Access group, said: “What has been really good is the continued dialogue we’ve been able to have with the [Leeds City] council. On a lot of occasions, it has felt like we have been able to work in close partnership with them. Communication generally has therefore been much better and, with the group available, we have been able to feed back information to parents on a regular basis.

“The council also ran an event specifically for parents applying this year to explain the system and have produced a video. There is undoubtedly more work to be done but this is a real step in the right direction. There are clearly also plans to try and create extra places for 2016 before offer day.”

Here are the Fair Access group’s top five tips for parents in 2016

1. Our top tip is to make sure you see schools for your own eyes and don’t just rely on Ofsted reports. Schools can change quickly.

2. Use our maps to take a view on how likely you may be to get in to a school www.faschools.org.uk/maps.

3. Use all your five choices.

4. If it looks like all your choices may be over-subscribed, consider your last choice carefully – you might want to consider a good school further afield or on a work route rather than see what happens.

5. Talk to other parents – join a group like ours.